MDRC evaluates programs that support young people who have experience in the foster care system in achieving their goals for school and work and making the transition to independent adulthood.

The Latest
Brief

Participatory research—including members of a group being studied—recognizes that people closest to a problem have unique perspectives and knowledge. MDRC collaborated with a group of youth fellows in the Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential project, and found that this approach can lead to better evaluation results.

Issue Focus

When COVID-19 upended normal operations at STRIVE, a workforce development nonprofit founded in New York, the Center for Applied Behavioral Science at MDRC documented the agency’s real-time innovations that allowed it to continue serving clients during the crisis. Greg Wise, STRIVE’s National Vice President, shared a first-hand account of the transition.

Key Documents
Report

Built on a research review and consultation with youth policy experts, this paper makes the case for developing a menu of approaches for the heterogeneous population of disconnected youth, building knowledge about mature programs (to better understand whether they work, for whom, and why), and creating new programs that address areas of unmet need. This framework may be particularly relevant for the Administration’s newly proposed Youth Innovation Fund.

Brief

A Preview of the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation

This brief covers one of the largest and most rigorous evaluations of services for youth who are aging out of the foster care and juvenile justice systems. It explains the scope of the problem, summarizes the policy context, describes the program and study sample, and offers preliminary observations from the evaluation.

Report

Two-Year Impact Findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation

This study tested a program that offers individualized services to young people who are making the transition from foster care or juvenile justice custody to independent living. The program had modest, positive effects on earnings, housing stability, and economic well-being and improved some health and safety outcomes.